Social Media Campaign by People’s Organizations on Hansen’s Disease


Using a common logo and slogan, 17 people’s organizations from 16 countries participated in a social media campaign earlier this year to raise awareness of Hansen’s disease in the run-up to World Hansen’s Disease Day on January 26, 2020.

Title: World Hansen’s Disease Day 2020 Joint Action
Period: January 2020
Slogan: Hansen’s Disease-Free World with Knowledge and Love
Hashtag: #WHDD2020
Planning, Support: Sasakawa Health Foundation

Activity Report

IDEA Ghana

Began activities in December 2019. Approached parliamentarians and other influential figures. Used TV, radio and newspapers to send out messages.

IDEA Niger

Developed activities in cooperation with the Public Health National Direction, the Ministry of Health, the Niger Federation of People Living with Disabilities and others. Rallies were featured on TV and radio.

IDEA Kenya

Conducted Kenya’s first-ever awareness campaign on Hansen’s disease. In cooperation with the Ministry of Health and others, visited schools, churches and mosques.

Tanzania Leprosy Association

Realized a visit to a Hansen’s disease care center by the Minister of Health. Carried out awareness-raising activities at 3 schools, and distributed 1,000 leaflets.

IDEA Nigeria

Organized a march   with support from the Ministry of Health, Lions Club and others. This was covered by a number of different TV and radio stations.


A press conference attended by the deputy minister of labor and social affairs was featured on TV and radio. For a 10-day period, 11 FM radio stations aired spots on Hansen’s disease twice a day.

IDEA Mozambique

Carried out awareness raising at Christian schools, communities and markets. In cities where the disease is endemic, messages were broadcast on radio programs listened to by half the population.


Arranged interview with a popular actor in Guangdong province . Organized a two-day photo exhibition to inform the general public about the disease. These activities were reported in Guangzhou’s leading newspapers and online media.

IDEA Nepal

Organized interviews with prominent activists and members of Parliament and received messages from comedians and Miss Nepal. Held meetings and classes at elementary and junior high schools. Activities were also reported on TV.

CLAP (Philippines)

Marches and mini concerts were held in a number of regions. Provincial Hansen’s disease officers appeared on radio programs to talk about the disease.

MAPAL (Myanmar)

Received messages of support from members of state health departments and state urban development commissions. Government and state government officials delivered remarks for the campaign. Held a press conference featured on TV and in newspapers.

Bogura Federation (Bangladesh)

Activities included organizing marches, setting up information corners at hospitals, holding children’s art contests and undertaking case-finding campaigns, with the activities featured on TV.

DAPA Bangladesh

Organized TV interviews/talk shows with the health minister and health secretary together with the Ministry of Health. Also held awareness meetings.

APAL (India)

Held marches, cricket tournaments and gatherings at colonies, as well as classes at elementary and junior schools. These activities were featured in various local newspapers.

PerMaTa (Indonesia)

Elementary school children were examined for leprosy at 26 clinics in high-endemic areas. In addition, meetings and interviews were organized with local leaders and there was collaboration with local universities.

MORHAN (Brazil)

Received supportive messages from a famous musician and a deputy governor, among others. Held rallies and meetings in cooperation with cities and communities in different regions, and the positive messages from these events were well received.

Felehansen (Colombia)

Organized interviews with provincial health directors and others involved in leprosy control. Held awareness meetings in different regions with the cooperation of local governments and hospitals. A leader of persons affected by Hansen’s disease was featured in a local newspaper.





Activity Highlights

Reached over 30 million people in collaboration with state-owned enterprise
The Ethiopian National Association of People Affected by Leprosy (ENAPAL), in collaboration with Ethio Telecom, a state-owned enterprise, sent a text message with the words “Let us make a leprosy-free society with knowledge and love” to 31 million mobile phone subscribers—about one third of the entire population.

Maximizing the power of social media
Posts by the Tanzania Leprosy Association (TLA) were viewed 53,000 times and resulted in 410 new followers. In Brazil, the Movement for the Reintegration of Persons Affected by Hansen’s Disease (MORHAN) uploaded 36 videos to YouTube. Both organizations achieved good results in disseminating information. Video content shared on social media by the two organizations reached 50,000 people and triggered 7,800 engagements (reactions and sharing).

Mass media activities
All organizations were able to send out awareness-raising messages via mass media such as TV, radio and newspapers (including online). Several organizations reported that their awareness activities had been covered in the media, that persons affected and medical professionals had been interviewed/appeared on programs, and that they had held press conferences. In many cases, the coverage and impact of these activities was increased through collaboration with influential individuals such as politicians, health policy directors and religious leaders.

Cooperation with influencers
Almost all organizations received a boost to their information dissemination efforts through collaboration with high-impact individuals and groups such as politicians, health policy directors, governors and religious leaders. This collaboration led to a political commitment to leprosy control in some cases. Some organizations also received the support of entertainers and celebrities, among them actors, musicians and comedians.

Approach to youth
Standing out among the many different activities were those of six organizations that made a conscious effort to sensitize young people by undertaking awareness-raising at educational institutions such as elementary and junior high schools, high schools and universities. There were also organizations that targeted elementary school children with skin checks and art contests to promote early detection of leprosy. In China, HANDA Rehabilitation & Welfare Association organized a photo exhibition. A junior high school student who participated as a volunteer recommending holding the exhibition in junior high and high schools, commenting: “Given that the high youth suicide rate has become a social issue, hearing from persons affected by Hansen’s disease who have overcome hardships will empower young people.”

Awareness activities take different forms
Six organizations organized marches to call for an end to discrimination related to Hansen’s disease. Fourteen organizations organized rallies, with participants numbering from the hundreds to the thousands. Various ideas were tried to encourage as many people as possible to participate, including parties, panel discussions, concerts, role-playing and sports events.

Comments from participating organizations

  • We hope we will keep on educating the general public, because many people know just a little about Hansen disease. (IDEA Ghana)
  • The celebration of World Hansen’s Disease Day was a great success in Niger, specially in Maradi, Zinder and Niamey regions because of the large number of mobilized population and several awareness sessions held. (IDEA Niger)
  • It was a resounding success as through the campaigns we received many reports of suspected cases. (IDEA Kenya)
  • Members of our organization are proud of now being regarded as impactors of knowledge rather than people who were always seen as victims of a disease. (Tanzania Leprosy Association)
  • Phone calls in discussion programmes on TV and radio elicited salient discussions on the disease especially in clarifying cultural myths that hitherto contributed to stigmatization. (IDEA Nigeria)
  • SMS block text addressed more than 30 million people in Ethiopia. A lot of telephone calls coming to ENAPAL about leprosy issues. That really catch the mind of many people. (ENAPAL)
  • The video spread by social media is also sensitizing communities to respect people affected by leprosy and their family members. (IDEA Mozambique)
  • The exhibition and sharing session attracted about 800 people to come. It helped the public who did not know the group of people affected by leprosy come to a new understanding of them. (HANDA)
  • The support by Sasakawa Health Foundation along with the focus on the hashtag was effective in the sense that there seemed to be unity among the activists. (IDEA Nepal)
  • First time that the activity was carried out and initiated by affected organizations and it’s great! (CLAP)
  • People participating in this campaign showed no discrimination to persons affected by leprosy. This will lead to accelerating and encouragements to MAPAL. (MAPAL)
  • In total 324 suspects were examined and 10 new cases diagnosed as leprosy and started on treatment from this campaign. (Bogura Federation)
  • Until now 3,044 people gave likes, commented and shared the news, photos, Video clips. (DAPA)
  • This is great awareness programme among the public, students, politicians, print and electronic medias. (APAL)
  • The leprosy day commemoration campaign this year is very good, because there are many leprosy organizations that carry out mutual and interconnected campaigns so that they feel very eager to voice the elimination of negative stigma in online media such as Facebook and Twitter. (PerMaTa)
  • The positive theme of the campaign—based on knowledge and love—help us to produce content that wascheerful and aggregating, in order to really face the stigma and negativity that often surround the subject matter. (MORHAN)
  • These actions open a new window, which will gradually give way to a light of hope, after thousands of years of darkness, fear, pain, crying, rapes, contempt and abuses suffered by the affected people and their families, as recognized by the history. (Felehansen)